on 1 December 2002
When I first saw this film back in the early nineties i was captiviated, just like the original Superman film, you really believe a man can fly but this time with a "Rocket" strapped to his back! Bill Campbell plays Cliff Seacord a daring test pilot in the 1930's who stumbles upon a experimetnal rocket, that just so happens was invented by famous aviator "Howard Hughes". Off course there is always a baddie and this takes the form of Timothy Dalton who plays a Hollywood actor. He actually plays a very nasty piece of work! And then you have the lovely Jennifer Connelly as Cliff's longtime girlfriend called "Jenny" funny enough, the writers must of been stuck for a name?
The action is breath taking especially the flying scenes as they are very fast paced and believable. There is also some humour in the film which helps. Rocketeer was actually based on a graphic novel of the same name and so has some comic book violence but nothing too graphic. Rocketeer has everything you'd want in an action film, love, good and evil, chases, and a whole load of fast and fantastic flying! as its said in the film "Rocketeer to the Rescue"
Rocketeer is directed by Joe Johnston and co-written by Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo and William Dear. It is based on Dave Stevens' comic book The Rocketeer. It stars Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton and Paul Sorvino. Music is scored by James Horner and cinematography by Hiro Narita.
It took eight years to get to the screen, with many rewrites, changes in personal, changes in setting and etc, the only thing consistent was Disney's inconsistency. Once out the film received generally positive reviews but posted only a small profit, in the wake of a Tim Burton inspired reinvention of the Super Hero genre, Rocketeer fell away into cultdom, sequels planned were shelved and its reputation remains to this day one of being a misfire. Unfair say I! Rocketeer is a lovingly crafted adventure film, nodding towards the serials of the 1930s, it's awash with period Hollywood delights, Art Deco imagery, has a damsel in distress, square jawed heroics, Nazi villains, wonderful effects and a blunderbuss Zeppelin finale. Backed by beautiful smooth tone photography and an evocative heart stirring music score, it's a family friendly blockbuster that ticks all the requisite boxes. The quality of the action sequences still hold up today, and Johnston, who wanted the job big time, directs with a knowing grasp of the setting, and crucially he never once loses a grip on tone and pacing. There's no self parody here, no deep Fruedian dissection of the main character, just a honest to goodness good against bad axis, with a romantic cause deftly wafted over proceedings.
The role of Cliff Secord (Rocketeer) proved hard to cast, where Vincent D'Onofrio turned it down and "name" actors such as Dennis Quaid, Emilio Estevez, Kurt Russell and Bill Paxton auditioned for the part. Paxton, it's believed, was very close to getting it as well. Disney wanted an A list man, Johnny Depp and Kevin Costner were mooted, but Johnston had a feel for unknown Billy Campbell and managed to convince nervous Disney heads that he was perfect. Much of the scorn that has flown towards Rocketeer has landed at Campbell's door, again, this is unfair. It's hard to tell if one of those A list actors could have made the character work better, for it helps in this instance to not have a familiar face propelling the adventure. There's an innocence, an awkwardness to Campbell's portrayal that just sits right for a guy stumbling upon a rocket pack and finding himself submerged in a chase and harry battle against bad. He also has the looks, a handsome dude who creates a homespun based chemistry with the sensuous Connelly. It's Dalton's movie, though, he's having a devil of a time as the chief villain. Modeled on Errol Flynn and the spurious notion that he was once a Nazi spy, Dalton has the looks, the gusto, the moustache twirling shiftiness and a voice perfect for such material. A roll call of great character actors fill out the support slots, with Terry O'Quinn, Paul Sorvino and Ed Lauter particularly striking the right chords.
A smashing piece of escapism, no pretensions or ideas above its station. The willingness to tap into the basic premise of a comic book actioner and entertain in grand Hollywood terms, to be applauded. And I do, and I do love it so. 8/10
Rocketeer Returns! Rocketeers Returns Again! These could have been great sequels but it wasn't to be. This had everything going for it. Great characters, great action, great story, great score. It has all the ingredients to make a great summer film. I do not know why it didn't do better and lead to the hoped for franchise. Having read the Dave Stevens graphic novels (comics) it is a very faithful adaptation perhaps only second (or even equal to) how faithful Sin City was. It is a proper 'Saturday Matinee' style adventure that the Indiana Jones comparison stands up to. "Rocketeer to the rescue!"
on 31 January 2006
There are very few Comic movies which capture the essence of it's source (and in this case surpass it). Rocketeer is set in 1938 with the Nazi's beginning to reveal themselves as a threat to the US. Cliff Secord is not the obvious hero, rather he has heroism thrust upon him as he normally does plane stunts now he must fight abnormally large men (Lothar), gangsters and a pack of Nazi Officers led by (I wont ruin it!). The result is an action packed period epic ideal for younger audiences an older alike much like the action serials of the 50's. The atmosphere of 1930's America is captured in art as well as prose perfectly (much like The Untouchables) add an impeccable musical score from the same guy who brought us Star Trek 2: Wrath of Khan, and you've got an immensly enjoyable movie if a tad light by todays standards of violence. It's outlook is very optimistic with a few cheesy one liners. All in all an ideal Sunday movie for all the family. It was recently rated as being the most true movie based on the original comic (the suit is identical to the comic version). The poster is regularly voted as one of the best in movie history also. released in 1991 (UK) it had to contend with Terminator2 and was billed by Disney as a family movie, among over unfortunate events hence it failed to leave a mark but has a large niche following. "Rocketeer to the rescue!"
on 14 December 2015
According to Stewie from Family Guy, "An idiot who wants a thrill will rent The Rocketeer"! Well, I've bought it and, furthermore, Iike it - a lot. It has its flaws, but what movie doesn't? As a youngster I saw the B&W serial King Of The Rocket Men and this is a wonderful piece of nostalgia for me.
Jennifer Connelly is simply stunningly beautiful in this - lustrous raven hair, ruby red lips and voluptuous curves unlike the size 0, stick thin figure she has since become. Timothy Dalton excels as the Errol Flynn-esque movie actor who is also a Nazi spy.
I will not say anymore other than this is an enjoyable movie for all the family.Younger children may find Lothar a little frightening - so be warned.
on 16 October 2011
I love super hero films that are set in the thirties and forties, everything seems so new and exciting. The adventure seems less sci-fi and a lot more realistic. When done wrong these films can be camp and over acted (like the shadow for example) but when done right they can be immensely good fun and really capture the spirit and the wonder that people would have had back then.
Fortunately the director of this film prefers to avoid the campy tone with which such films can be made. Although The Rocketeer seems to keep the innocent spirit of the early serials, the film improves upon them in its writing and attention to detail.
The lead seems an attractive but unusually blank performer, and Jennifer Connelly, in one of her early roles as his girlfriend, also has little more to do than look pretty. But when you are trying to capture the feel of a 1930's serial, I don't think the most important thing is character development.
The action of the film is entertaining enough, especially for a very young audience. A great little gem that I would advise to have a look at especially if you want some good old fashioned family viewing.
on 20 July 2014
a plane manufacturer invents a rocket backpack to fly a man just as the world war 2 is starting ,after a plane crash and a car,the car owner hides this inside an old biplane from the mob ,he is later killed,the plane pilot madly in love with his girl finds it and tries it out at a nearby airshow scaring the wits out of the peolewho have never seen such a thing.to cut a long story short a top film star turns out to be a german spy after the rocket backpack for the german army to use,and when the pilot offers to do a swap for his girlfriend the mob find out that the film star is a spie as well as the feds (fbi),and all turn on the film star to tries to get away in an airship not knowing the rudder has been jammed and that the pack is leaking fuel the spie takes off leaving the pilot and his girlfriend to die only for the rocket pack to explode,a great family film I recommend to everyone